1 May 2019 by Will Date

Agency continues investigation into 2017 WEEE non-compliance

The Environment Agency has confirmed that it is continuing an investigation into a WEEE compliance scheme – Northern Compliance – over its failure to meet its recycling obligation in 2017.

The information was disclosed in a Freedom of Information response, issued by the Agency yesterday (30 April).

Northern Compliance has had its WEEE compliance scheme approval withdrawn

The compliance scheme had its WEEE scheme approval withdrawn in January (see letsrecycle.com story), but maintained that it had not breached the WEEE Regulations in 2017.

Under the Regulations, Producer Compliance Schemes are responsible for financing the overall household WEEE collection target on behalf of their members, based on their market share.

Compliance fee

If they fall short of their target through physical collections, they can pay a ‘compliance fee’ as an alternative means of meeting the objective.

In October it was revealed – via a freedom of information request – that Northern Compliance had missed its 2017 household WEEE target. The FOI request suggested that the scheme was around 3,000 tonnes short of the required tonnage to meet its members’ obligations.

Northern Compliance said it had not paid the fee due to its dispute with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) over the use of the Compliance Fee as a means of meeting its recycling obligations for 2017.

FOI

In a further statement issued in February, the compliance scheme said that “bar one exception”, all of its members had fully funded their obligations for 2018.

An additional FOI request was lodged with the Environment Agency, which stated that Northern Compliance had fallen short of its 2018 obligation by 2,190 tonnes.

A letter then issued on behalf of Northern Compliance by the law firm Blake Turner LLP, described the figures as ‘misleading’ and it was claimed the shortfall actually stood at around 10 tonnes.

It stated: “The EA is, and has been since December, aware of the member who has not funded its obligations in full although we do not know what their position on this issue.”

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, the Environment Agency reiterated that the figures contained within the FOI release were accurate, but confirmed that its investigation into the matter for 2018 has closed.

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